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Old Jul 6, 12, 9:33 pm   #1
 
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Frustrating (non-)upgrade experiences with FHR (Fine Hotels and Resorts)

I've been having hit & miss experiences with the American Express FHR (Fine Hotels and Resorts) program lately.

My understanding of the program is that when you book a room at a hotel through the Amex FHR program, you will be upgraded upon check-in contingent on availability. My reservation confirmations always say "Room upgrade subject to availability at time of check-in". Hence I always arrive hoping for an upgrade, but not expecting one unless there is availability.

Recently at two very fine establishments, I have been refused an upgrade at check-in, not because of lack of availability, but because management claims the room I booked was "not eligible" for the upgrade. That is, rooms were available, but I was told I couldn't upgrade into them. (I'm currently at such a property and in the interest of being polite, I'm not going to mention where I am, although I'm very tempted.)

I have never seen a list of restrictions on the eligibility for upgrades based on room category for any properties in the FHR program. I'm wondering if anyone knows of any such restrictions. Incidentally, I'm booking through Amex Canada, and the only fine print they list on their web site is this footnote:

Quote:
7. To receive Fine Hotels & Resorts program (FHR) amenities and rates, reservation must be booked with a Platinum Card in FHR negotiated rates and room categories through Platinum Card Travel Service. Payment must be made with an American Express Card in the Platinum Card member’s name. Room upgrade based on availability. Limit one amenity per room, per stay. Amenity restrictions vary by hotel, are subject to change, and cannot be redeemed for cash. Platinum Card members may book up to three (3) rooms inclusive of FHR rates and amenities and must accompany the party as a guest for which FHR reservations are made. In the event the Platinum Card member cancels the reservation(s), FHR rates and amenities will no longer apply to any remaining reservation(s). Back-to-back stays within a 24-hour period at a single FHR property are considered one stay. Benefit value based on double occupancy. Actual value varies by property, length and date of stay. $450 value is based on a $80 breakfast credit, $100 special amenity, and a $365 value for 4 pm check-out based on fees charged for late checkout of generally 50% of the daily rate, based on an average daily rate of $730. (Source: http://www.americanexpress.com/canada/the-platinum-card)
That is, there doesn't seem to be any restriction on which room types are eligible and which are not. Yet hotels are claiming such restrictions exist. I'm getting pretty fed up with this.

Has anyone had similar experiences? Solutions? Thanks in advance.

Last edited by CanuckFlyer; Jul 6, 12 at 9:43 pm..
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Old Jul 6, 12, 9:56 pm   #2
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The program rules specify a one-category upgrade subject to availability at check in (except where a confirmed upgrade is the special amenity). If you book a superior room and the next category up is deluxe, which has no availability, but the next (two up) category of grand deluxe does have availability, you will not necessarily get the upgrade. In addition, some properties limit upgrades, for example not beyond a junior suite, which means that if you book the junior suite, they might not give you an upgrade even if deluxe junior suites are available. If you call, the PTS agents should be able to tell you which categories can upgrade into what according to program rules. Sometimes it makes sense strategically to reserve a slightly more expensive room to get a significant upgrade.

Like in the hotel chain programs, some properties are just significantly better than others in having upgrade availability or going above and beyond to find an upgrade above what the program rules require.

IME when you report an upgrade that you should have had but it wasn't offered, PTS takes it very seriously.
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Old Jul 6, 12, 9:57 pm   #3
 
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http://www.rateyourfhrstay.com/
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Old Jul 7, 12, 6:31 pm   #4
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if you dont check contract with FHR before booking/stay... (you just ask FHR agent to do this)
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Old Jul 7, 12, 8:02 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
The program rules specify a one-category upgrade subject to availability at check in (except where a confirmed upgrade is the special amenity). If you book a superior room and the next category up is deluxe, which has no availability, but the next (two up) category of grand deluxe does have availability, you will not necessarily get the upgrade. In addition, some properties limit upgrades, for example not beyond a junior suite, which means that if you book the junior suite, they might not give you an upgrade even if deluxe junior suites are available. If you call, the PTS agents should be able to tell you which categories can upgrade into what according to program rules. Sometimes it makes sense strategically to reserve a slightly more expensive room to get a significant upgrade.

Like in the hotel chain programs, some properties are just significantly better than others in having upgrade availability or going above and beyond to find an upgrade above what the program rules require.

IME when you report an upgrade that you should have had but it wasn't offered, PTS takes it very seriously.
This is what I'm saying - the PTS did not specify any restrictions in the ability to upgrade (and in fact indicated in the notes to the hotel that I'm a plat customer so please UG) and the written reservation did not indicate any restrictions. Upon arrival, the hotel claimed a restriction prevented ability to UG.

The hotel is apparently looking into the matter, and took steps to make up for the mix-up, so I'm satisfied for the moment (though still bummed about the frustration at check-in). I'm bothered that this keeps happening and wonder what is the source of the repeated mix-ups.

On a previous stay with a different hotel, I asked the PTS agent to confirm with the hotel that the UG was possible from the room category I booked, and they did so by calling the hotel. Yet up on arrival the same thing happened - check-in agent and the front desk manager denied an UG even though space was available, claiming the reservation was not eligible for an UG.

Irritating.
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Old Jul 7, 12, 8:12 pm   #6
 
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I've booked perhaps 5 FHR reservations over the past year. None of them have been upgraded at check-in, so this seems to be an expanding and unfortunate trend. Perhaps I'm just unlucky or choose very busy hotels.
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Old Jul 7, 12, 11:44 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicksta View Post
I've booked perhaps 5 FHR reservations over the past year. None of them have been upgraded at check-in, so this seems to be an expanding and unfortunate trend. Perhaps I'm just unlucky or choose very busy hotels.
i've been upgraded every time...

bellagio - standard room to a junior suite

venetian - standard room to a bella suite

encore las vegas - standard room to a tower suite

the phoenician - standard room to a casita suite
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Old Jul 8, 12, 8:55 am   #8
 
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Park Hyatt Tokyo, Peninsula Chicago, Peninsula Tokyo, Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, Oberoi Agra
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Old Jul 8, 12, 10:01 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicksta View Post
I've booked perhaps 5 FHR reservations over the past year. None of them have been upgraded at check-in, so this seems to be an expanding and unfortunate trend. Perhaps I'm just unlucky or choose very busy hotels.
Could you name the property and date?
Maybe we should create new thread about "failed upgrade" with FHR.
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Old Jul 8, 12, 2:01 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomy77 View Post
Could you name the property and date?
Maybe we should create new thread about "failed upgrade" with FHR.
See the post above yours for the properties. I could research the dates, but I suspect many others have the same experience as I do.

Don't get me wrong, I've been upgraded many times over the years. Recently, it seems the better hotels have been holding back.
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Old Jul 8, 12, 3:32 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicksta View Post
Park Hyatt Tokyo, Peninsula Chicago, Peninsula Tokyo, Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, Oberoi Agra
UG or no-UG?
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Old Jul 8, 12, 4:14 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron01 View Post
UG or no-UG?
In his post, Nicksta says none of the FHR stays have been upgraded.

I actually choose my room category based on the likelihood of upgrade. If it seems likely, I'll book one category down from the room I really want. If it's a busy time or there's a special event, I'll just book the room I want. It's worked for me for the past 10 years that I've been booking FHR stays (knock on wood)...
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Old Jul 9, 12, 1:39 am   #13
 
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Originally Posted by phill6 View Post
ha! thought at first that this was a FTer-created site that allows savvy travelers to rate and find the most upgrade-friendly FHR places.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 12:27 am   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicksta View Post
Park Hyatt Tokyo, Peninsula Chicago, Peninsula Tokyo, Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, Oberoi Agra
I received a very nice upgrade at the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 9:47 am   #15
 
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stayed at the US Grant Hotel in san diego last night, booked the lowest standard room - superior, was upgraded to a Landmark Suite

$100 resort credit
$80 breakfast credit

booked $179 rate
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